Two minute memoir

(This poem was published in Spelt Magazine issue 2)

This is all that happened:

Cows flowed home at dusk, fit to burst – the farmer winked and cussed, chewed gum. The milkman delivered every-other-day. There was a paperboy, chip van, mobile library, mobile shop. On Saturdays I groomed horses and waxed tack for free because I loved that horsey smell, needed to be kept busy. My mother cleaned, my mother cooked, sometimes she shouted get your head out of that book, but I didn’t, and my Dad drove combines, milk floats, bread vans. He chopped wood, spruced himself up to call bingo in the social club, two little ducks, quack, quack, but I was too shy to shout house or line, could’ve won the hamper, but never told. And it was so cold the ice made patterns on the inside. The fields stank, then grew then burnt, and there were sparrows, endless sparrows. The coal-man came, the rent-man, the vicar. I spoke to tom cats, wood pigeons, doves. Some men went mad with loneliness – there was murder, tragedy.  I rode imaginary horses, saw foxes snared, kittens drowned, ducks mauled, watched the trains pass by three fields away, the colourful freight, wondered where it was headed. There were cinnabars, newt bellies, cowslips – an abundance of yellow. There were women called Betty and Brenda and Violet. A farmer let us fish – said, something for the village kids. There were swallowed hooks and bleeding gills and heads smashed in. On Christmas Eve we went carolling, ate warm mince pies in big houses, felt blessed. And love came down in secret spaces behind the bus shelter, between hedges, under bridges. There were meat hooks and orchards, scrumping, shotguns. Everyone knew who my father was. Gran’s house smelled of vinegar, chips, Player’s No.6, she had pockets full of fruit pastilles, wine gums. She never left the village, most haven’t left the village, the village won’t leave me.

This is how it is.

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